Digital Identity (Digital ID) consultation process

On 19 September 2023 the government released an exposure draft of a Digital ID Bill alongside draft Digital ID Rules and Digital ID Accreditation Rules, and a range of fact sheets, explanatory documents and consultation questions.

This material was released onto the website via a consultation webpage, which is accepting input in 3 separate ways:

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher foreshadowed the consultation process at the Government Services Summit on 25 July 2023, when she announced that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would be the interim regulator for Digital ID because of its experience dealing with consumer issues across the economy.

Minister Gallagher stated that if the government moved swiftly it ‘could have legislation in place, mid-year next year’, noting it was a ‘tight timeframe’. The 19 September 2023 press release announcing the consultation process reinforced this timeline, with the minister outlining that the ‘short exposure draft period will allow … the feedback of interested stakeholders … to happen and ensure we stay on track to introduce the final Bill by the end of this year’.

Digital Identity system

The Digital Identity system being proposed by the government builds on the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), ‘an accreditation framework for digital ID services’ developed by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). Work began on Digital Identity in 2014 under the Coalition Government, which foreshadowed a legislated Digital Identity system via the Trusted Digital Identity Bill, an exposure draft for which was released in October 2021.

Entities accredited under the TDIF that interface with government systems (page 16 of the agenda papers of an inter-departmental leadership group) are collectively known as the Australian Government Digital Identity System (AGDIS). This currently only includes government services, but the TDIF accreditation program has also accredited private entities in anticipation of expanding the digital identity system beyond government. The government has indicated that under its proposed system, phases 3 and 4 of the AGDIS expansion will extend to private sector services and providers.

Current Bills related to the AGDIS

The Digital Identity consultation process follows the introduction earlier in September 2023 of 3 Bills related to the AGDIS:

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has previously highlighted Digital Identity initiatives as key to improving digital service delivery. At July’s Government Services Summit, Minister Shorten previewed statutory declaration execution using Digital Identity, and suggested it would deliver significant savings, outlining that ‘for a $2.5 million outlay, the return would be around $150 million’. At the August 2023 Tech in Government conference, Minister Shorten stated that using a drivers licence for the highest level of identity proofing would expand the accessibility of digital identity to cover 80% of the population. The myGov user audit released in early 2023 also emphasised the benefits of digital identity uplift, with Finding 7 and Recommendation 6 calling for accelerated development of the Digital ID ecosystem.

Agencies involved in the AGDIS

Responsibility for the Digital Identity program was moved from the DTA to the Department of Finance on 6 July 2023. A number of other government entities also have roles in the AGDIS. Currently, the AGDIS incorporates an Identity Exchange administered by Services Australia and the user-facing Identity Provider myGovID run by the Australian Taxation Office. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was funded in the 2023–24 Budget ‘to provide ongoing privacy assurance for the Digital ID program’ and the TDIF’s security accreditation standards make reference to the Information Security Manual and Information Security Registered Assessors Program, which are both administered by the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Home Affairs also has a role in identity resilience and cybersecurity coordination.

Relevance of the AGDIS to cybersecurity

Digital ID reform supports the government’s cybersecurity efforts. The National Strategy for Identity Resilience released in June 2023 highlighted the role of Digital ID systems in reducing the amount of information shared to prove identity online. Industry news site ITNews reported on 18 September 2023 that business submissions to the 2023–2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy Discussion Paper showed a ‘clear industry consensus in favour of government-backed digital ID’ to help reduce information potentially exposed in data breaches, although submissions stated the ‘current regime is not yet fit for purpose’.


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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